Featured Destination

Chefs Challenge: Michigan’s Culinary Event of the Year

Boyne Falls, MIChefs Challenge – April 20-21, 2012
Boyne Mountain Resort
Boyne City, MI
(231) 582-1186


A culinary competition benefitting Challenge Mountain – the only non-profit in the country providing adaptive outdoor activities for those with special needs.

Now in its 5th year, Chefs Challenge attracts chefs from all over the state to compete in a tasting extravaganza judged by event goers and a celebrity judge panel. This year’s event, April 20-21 at Boyne Mountain Resort in Boyne City, showcases the best of Michigan with the state’s finest chefs, ingredients and products, combined for a good cause — Challenge Mountain. Challenge Mountain is the nation’s only non-profit providing adaptive recreation to those with special needs for free. Funds raised from the event go directly to the non-profit programs that include adaptive downhill skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.

This year’s Taste of Michigan features three competition categories – College/University, Professional Center-of-the-Plate and Michigan Dessert, plus free seminars, demonstrations and culinary exhibits.

Chefs Challenge Taste of Michigan competition in the Boyne Mountain Civic Center is designed to showcase Michigan food and drink products and their creative applications in a meal. It is an opportunity for Michigan establishments to showcase their talents, gain exposure for their establishment, while raising funds for Challenge Mountain.

Teams compete in the “Taste” by preparing an entree item paired with a fine Michigan wine or Michigan micro-brew. Teams are pre-determined by a panel of Chef judge’s, based on a combination of entry date and recipe entry quality/ variety/creativity of products presented, as well as an overall balance of entries to be provided to guests. The focus of this competition is the use of indigenous Michigan products.

Competing Teams are judged by both the attendees (awarding a “People’s Choice Award”) and a esteemed panel of judges (which will determine Saturday evenings “Iron Chef-style” competition). All events will be emceed by celebrity Chef Michelle Bommarito.

The event kicks off at 6:00 pm Friday night in the Vienna Room at Mountain Grand Lodge with a “Meet and Greet” featuring high school culinary students who will compete in the “Chefs-in-Training” competition. General Public Admission is $10.

The Taste of Michigan portion of Chefs Challenge takes place on Saturday, April 20 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm in Boyne Mountain’s Civic Center. Admission is $25 and includes eight sampling tickets good towards food and beverage. Additional tickets can be purchased in quantities of four for $15 or eight for $25.

The Chefs Challenge Cook-Off and Dinner also on Saturday begins at 6:00 pm. Tickets are $75 and include a mouthwatering four-course dinner prepared by Chef Jeff Minkwic of Boyne Mountain Resort and two drink tickets, while guests enjoy watching the final cook-off between the winning chefs. Reservations for dinner are limited and should be made in advance by calling Challenge Mountain at (231) 582-1186. You can also purchase tickets on-line at www.chefs-challenge.com.

After the dinner, continue the fun with music and dance featuring, Street-Corner (Michigan’s Best Oldies and Motown Vocal Group sponsored by Dillon Energy) Admission is free for Dinner Ticket Holders and $10 to the public.

Please visit the website for a complete list of Chef Teams as they become available.

Celebrity judges include:

• Professor / Chef Chris Kibit, CCE, CHE – Northern Michigan University, Marquette

• Chef Angus Campbell – Secchia Institute for Culinary Education, Grand Rapids

• Author Ruth Mossok Johnston – Feed Me Heartfully, Franklin

• Chef Hermann Suhs – Hermann’s European Café, Cadillac

• Chef Rob Haney – Retired, Lansing

• Barb Tholin – Edible Grande Traverse, Traverse City

• Executive Chef Nathan Mileski – Northern Michigan University, Marquette

• Chef Ray Sierengowski – Meijer Corporation, Grand Rapids

• Chef Matthew Millar – Reserve Wine & Food, Grand Rapids (2012 James Beard Semifinalist – Great Lakes: Best Chef).

For more information on each judge visit www.chefs-challenge.com.

Seminars and Demonstrations are available to the public on Saturday, free of charge. The seminars take place in the Civic Center from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. Times, more details and locations will be posted at the website www.chefs-challenge.com. Information will be handed out Friday night at the Future Chef Competition and at the Civic Center on Saturday 8:00 am. Seminars to date include:

• Michelle Bommarito, Professional Chef presents Feeding your mind, body and spirit

• Barb Tholin, Editor, Edible Grand Traverse presents, Going all out with spring produce

• Mike Everts, Chef and farmer Mike Everts of Blackbird Gardens demonstrates “Cooking Techniques of Wild Mushrooms and Fresh Greens” picked from his farm!

• Ed Brehm, Provisions Wine Emporium presents “The 5 S’s of Wine” – including tastings.

• Rich Blair, New Holland Brewery presents “The Art of Whiskey” – including tastings

• Jan Rubek, Lavendar Hill Farm presents “Lavender and its Culinary Uses.”

• Jim Borchers, iMJN Enterprises/Hammer Stahl demonstrates “Cutting Techniques, Care and Cleaning of Cutlery and Cutting Boards.”

• Chef Ray, Meijers prepares a special dish “Celebrating the Bounty of Michigan

• Chef Chris Gadulka, Flemings Steakhouse and Wine Bar enlightens us on “Cooking Techniques for Different Cuts of Beef.”

• Dianna Stampfler, Promote Michigan present “Made in the Mitten: Savoring Michigan’s Rich Agricultural & Foodie History.”

Cake decorating demonstrations are also planned during the Taste of Michigan Competition (Saturday April 21, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm). Two incredible “Cake Artists” – Gretel Steckler of Amazing Cakes and Kathy Potters of Potters Bakery – demonstrate their techniques and talents.

Chefs Challenge was launched in 2008 by the late Joe Breidenstein, who worked diligently to promote Michigan spring tourism including playing a key role in designating the last week of April as ”Springtime Splendor Week.”

For more information on Challenge Mountain, please visit www.cmski.com. For additional event information on Chefs Challenge, please visit www.chefs-challenge.com.

Special lodging rates are available during Chefs Challenge at Boyne Mountain Resort with accommodations in the Clock Tower Lodge starting at $67 per night or $118 per night in the resort’s luxurious Mountain Grand Lodge and Spa. For lodging reservations, please call 1-800-GO-BOYNE (462-6963) or visit www.boyne.com.